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Phyllanthus amarus
Uses: Medicinal Duration: Annual
When to Sow: Spring/Anytime Ease of Germination: Moderate
(Bhumiamalaka; Chanca Piedra) Almost totally unknown in the developed world, this unassuming small plant from the tropics is getting a lot of research attention. Here is a chemically-rich plant that kills bacteria, worms and viruses, expels kidney and gall stones, detoxifies and protects the liver and prevents liver cancer, relieves indigestion and dysentery, cures malaria and dropsy, lowers blood sugar and blood pressure, and still it does more! Its Spanish name chanca piedra translates to “stone breaker”, a nod to its remarkable ability to break down kidney stones. With its added bonus of geraniin, a painkiller seven times stronger than aspirin and acetaminophen, the process of expelling kidney stones is a much less painful experience than usual. The herb has two compounds, phyllanthin and hypophyllanthin, thought to be responsible for protecting the liver. Studies show that when mice with liver cancer are given an extract of the plant, they live much longer than mice that didn’t get the extract. Other studies have shown that jaramla extracts protect bone marrow in mice from damage induced by cancer-causing chemicals and radiation. But it is the herb’s anti-virus effect that has attracted the most attention. There is good evidence that the herb kills hepatitis A, B, and C viruses, particularly B, and studies have shown that it even works against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. A German study in 2003 showed that the herb inhibits HIV by 70-75%. Jaramla is a weedy annual up to 60cm/2ft high with minute, greenish flowers. Germination is easy but needs bottom heat. Can be weedy in tropical areas, but is unlikely to be a problem in most temperate zones.
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Currency: United States Dollar

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